Special Meeting Minutes
CALL TO ORDER
The Board of Directors of the Port Angeles School District No. 121 met on Monday, September 29, 2003, in the Port Angeles High School Library. Proper notification of the meeting was made according to law. In attendance were Mr. Hinds, Mrs. Kelly, Mr. McClain, Ms. McLaughlin, Mrs. Schreiber, Superintendent Cohn, and Student Representative Marcial. The flag salute was led by Student Representative Marcial. The special session began at 5:30 p.m. The regular meeting began at 7:00 p.m.
MEETING AGENDA AND CONSENT AGENDA
The meeting agenda was approved as submitted. The consent agenda was presented as follows:
Approval of Minutes
Regular Meeting of September 15, 2003
Special Meeting of September 25, 2003
Employment of Staff
Sonja Bickel has been recommended for the .500 FTE math position at Choice Community High School. Ms. Bickel received her BS degree in 1991 from the University of Puget Sound with a major in geology and received her Masters in Teaching in 1995 from Washington State University. Ms. Bickel has taught for the Edmonds School District since 1997. Linda Williams, Lesley Thomson, and Debrah Volturno interviewed three candidates for this position
Approval of Extra-Curricular and Supplemental Assignments
Denise Dahl Five Vocational Extended Days
Becky Gundersen 8th Grade Girls Basketball - Roosevelt Middle School
Phil Morgan-Ellis Extra class .200 - Music
Acknowledgement of Revisions to Procedure 3520P
As reported at the September 15 board meeting, a review of the PAHS pay-to-participate list was initiated. Of particular concern was the inclusion of Drama, Honor Society, and NJROTC as programs subject to pay-to-participate. These activities were originally included based on the paid advisor criteria. Upon further review, it is recommended that these activities be removed from the pay-to-participate program. The Drama activity is self-supporting by virtue of their gate receipts, and Honor Society and NJROTC require minimal district activity budget support. Additionally, there is no district supported travel associated with these programs. Therefore, because these programs do not require the level of support that the other included programs require, it would be appropriate to amend the procedure and delete the aforementioned activities.
Approval of Additional Task Force Members
During the September 15 meeting, board members appointed fourteen of sixteen individuals to serve on the Collaborative Time Task Force. The initial list of proposed members was approved with the understanding that the remaining positions would be filled as qualified individuals come forward. It is now recommended that the board of directors approve the following individuals for appointment to the Collaborative Time Task Force:
Laura Knowles - middle school certificated staff member (Roosevelt)
Carol Knebes - community member
Approval of Custodial Equipment Bids
Bids for the supply of custodial equipment for the North Olympic Peninsula Skills Center were opened on Wednesday, September 24. Roger Easling, project manager, inspected all bids. Requests for proposals were sent to seven firms, and two were returned. Proposals were submitted by Coastwide Laboratories of Tacoma and Olympic Paper of Port Angles. The low submission for all equipment was from Olympic Paper. It is recommended that the board of directors authorize the award of contract for custodial equipment to Olympic Paper.
Impact Aid Authorization
It is recommended that the superintendent be designated to act as the authorized representative of the Board of Directors of the Port Angeles School District No. 121 for the purpose of making application for federal funds provided by the Impact Aid Section 8003 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
Approval of Vouchers and Budget Reports
GENERAL FUND VOUCHERS: Warrant #15081-#15126; Total = $119,092.79
GENERAL FUND VOUCHER: Warrant #20215; Total = $4,105.40
GENERAL FUND VOUCHERS: Warrant #20216-#20435; Total = $240,623.52
GENERAL FUND VOUCHERS: Warrant #20436-#20451; Total = $5,752.75
ASB FUND VOUCHERS: Warrant #2510-#2553; Total = $25,454.53
CAPITAL PROJECTS VOUCHERS: Warrant #200-#205; Total = $247,710.01
Ms. McLaughlin moved to approve the consent agenda as presented. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Schreiber, voted and carried.
Jane Childers spoke against on-site child care in school district facilities. She explained that she realizes the value of the programs provided by the city and the YMCA, but emphasized that those programs should not be given an unfair advantage over private providers.
Gary Childers suggested that, if the practice of on-site child care in school district facilities is continued, the board should protect private providers. He urged the board to design a structure to obtain feedback from private providers.
Mrs. Schreiber described observations she made during and after the recent community forum on school reinvention. She noted that one important element of the evening was a discussion of citizenship and a loss of respect and civility. Mrs. Schreiber related these discussions to the level of acrimony and intimidation witnessed during recent board meetings. She stated that strong advocacy is expected and healthy in a democracy and that board members should encourage civil discourse in order to make fair, informed, and responsible decisions. Finally, Mrs. Schreiber stated that the board should adopt a code of conduct for civil behavior at school board meetings.
Mrs. Kelly reported on her attendance at the recent WSSDA Legislative Assembly. She provided a list of all proposals that were presented and whether each passed, did not pass, or was withdrawn. Mrs. Kelly also noted that overall discussions were funding-related and that attendees emphasized the importance of communicating these messages to state legislators.
Dr. Cohn waived his report due to the abbreviated meeting, but he did describe the success of the community forum with Dr. Tony Wagner. Nearly 100 people were in attendance, and many shared positive comments as a result. Superintendent Cohn also read a note shared by Dr. Wagner after his follow-up visit to Port Angeles High School. Dr. Wagner complimented the work occurring at the high school and the progress made by staff and students to date.
Finally, Mr. McClain noted his attendance at a reception for Wilma Dean, secretary at Monroe Elementary School, who has retired after nearly 30 years in education.
Jerry Eldred, transportation supervisor, reported a smooth start to the year in transportation, especially in light of recent budget reductions. Mr. Eldred stated that his office received the standard number of calls for the beginning of a school year, with the same general concerns as in previous years. He added that much of the success in transportation is due to the efforts of parents working together. Mr. Eldred described the changes made to bus routes and schedules, informing the board that many of the remaining problems stem from unexpected numbers of students on buses. Mr. Eldred implemented many changes as a result of increased numbers on several routes, including the addition of two-hour afternoon driver position, and he will continue to evaluate all routes throughout the year. He stated that transportation has reduced routes from 26 two years ago to 13 in the morning and 14 in the afternoon this year, adding that special education routing has remained about the same. Finally, Mr. Eldred reminded board members of the annual five-day ridership survey beginning September 30. This survey provides data for the state funding formula which determines the district's level of state transportation funding.
Grade Level Re-Design Task Force Membership
During the June 23 board meeting, the board established a grade level re-design task force with the following purposes: (a) to study relevant data and comparative statistics; (b) to research program operations and student performance improvements in districts where re-leveling has occurred; and (c) to develop a board recommendation regarding re-leveling across a reduced number of school facilities operated by the district. The superintendent requested volunteers from community members, parents, and staff members, and an initial list of proposed members was presented on August 25. Board members expressed concern over limited parent representation and agreed to table the item pending attainment of broader membership. Of 20 positions, 17 have been filled; remaining positions will be filled as qualified individuals come forward. Mr. Hinds moved to approve the following individuals for appointment to the Grade Level Re-Design Task Force, the report of which is due by the end of June, 2004:
Cindy Kelly - board member
Judy Fletcher - classified employee (Dry Creek)
Gunnar Thomason - elementary certificated staff member (Hamilton)
Rindy Hainstock - elementary certificated staff member (Fairview)
Bernie Brabant - high school certificated staff member (PAHS)
Lesley Thomson - high school certificated staff member (Choice)
Michelle Olsen - elementary school principal (Jefferson)
Chuck Lisk - middle school administrator (Stevens)
Patrick Kane - high school administrator (PAHS)
Michele Haworth - parent (Hamilton)
Chuck LeBer - parent (Stevens)
Sarah Methner - parent (Fairview)
Leo Leonard (community representative)
Susan Schmitt (community representative)
Ron Spanjer (assistant superintendent)
Tom Anderson (non-voting chairperson)
Jim Jones (ex-officio member)
The motion was seconded by Mrs. Kelly, voted and carried.
Academic Honors Policy and Procedure
During its meeting on June 10, 2002, the board instructed the superintendent to assemble a committee to propose revisions to the 1986 policy establishing the district's high school honors program, in order to make the requirements more appropriate. Board Policy No. 2411 was reviewed last year by the Port Angeles High School department chairpersons under the leadership of Principal Michelle Reid. Changes were made in order to meet the intent of the board's direction. The revised language was submitted for board consideration on September 15, 2003. Board members reviewed the revised language and discussed suggestions for clarification. Following agreement on revisions, the policy and procedure were approved for first reading.
Ms. McLaughlin and Mrs. Schreiber indicated they felt the policy needed a clearer statement of purpose in the opening paragraph. After discussions with Michelle Reid and Gary McLaughlin, they drafted the following: "The high school Academic Honors program is designed to motivate in the highest number of students a desire for intellectual excellence, for participation in rigorous courses of study, and for high levels of academic achievement through college-preparatory programs of learning arranged to match students' individual needs and interests." Ms. McLaughlin and Mrs. Schreiber also suggested a minor change to the second paragraph.
Student Representative Marcial questioned the intent of requirement #1 of the policy, and she clarified that a student could potentially graduate with academic honors without taking any honors-weighted courses.
Mrs. Schreiber moved to adopt Board Policy No. 2411, Academic Honors, as revised and approve Procedure 2411P. The motion was seconded by Ms. McLaughlin. Student Representative Marcial emphasized the notion that receiving academic honors without taking honors-weighted courses does not necessarily translate into a "rigorous" curriculum. Mr. McClain clarified that this new policy will be in place for the upcoming freshman class. In the interim, both the old policy and new policy will be available for students. The motion was voted and carried.
Approval of Public School Employees (PSE) Agreement
As a result of a negotiated letter of agreement regarding the layoff of several Public School Employees (PSE) members in the transportation unit, the PSE was asked to consider extending the current contract (due to expire August 31, 2004) an additional two years (to August 31, 2006) in order to stagger the expiration dates of the major bargaining units into different years. They agreed. The new agreement, dated September 1, 2003, to August 31, 2006, has been reviewed by district administrators and was recommended for board approval. Mrs. Schreiber moved approve the 2003-06 Collective Bargaining Agreement between the district and the Public School Employees of Port Angeles. The motion was seconded by Mr. Hinds, voted and carried.
Port Angeles High School
Principal Michelle Reid introduced several members of the high school staff and of the school's site team. She explained that the focus of the presentation was the notion that Smaller Learning Communities (SLC) are necessary in the high school reinvention process, but alone they are not sufficient to ensure that all students and staff will perform at high levels. In a PowerPointŪ presentation, Mrs. Reid outlined the work that has occurred at Port Angeles High School over the last three years, beginning with a description of the previous school climate. She noted external accountabilities and described the impact of the High School to University GPA Transition Report on grade point averages. Mrs. Reid continued with a review of cultural and economic changes that have decreased the earning potential of individuals with a high school diploma only, thereby creating fewer opportunities for students with no vocational training or college degree.
A guiding principle of public school redesign is the shift toward collaboration among teachers. Scott Moseley spoke to the change from when he began at the high school, noting that teachers used to function independently in their classrooms. In contrast, he stated that teachers are now expected to work together toward a common focus, depending upon each other for success.
The PAHS priorities this year are Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI), Teacher Expectations and Student Achievement (TESA), and literacy. Mrs. Reid shared results from a staff survey taken three years ago and provided data on attendance, discipline, graduation rates, and academic achievement. She observed that as the focus increased on improved student learning and achievement, issues regarding civility, discipline, and the campus atmosphere also improved.
Mrs. Reid explained the freshman "pods" that were formed in 2001 to address the academic, behavioral, and emotional challenges of the ninth-grade year. Pods were structured into groups of students attending the same science, English, and world cultures/health courses. Results indicate an improvement in attendance, discipline, and academics. Another outcome of the pods is an increase in the promotion rate from ninth to tenth grade. Mrs. Reid emphasized the importance of increasing this rate to 100 percent, noting that students who reach tenth grade on schedule are also likely to graduate on schedule.
Next, Mrs. Reid addressed writing standards. Mrs. Schreiber asked how students will cope with the transition from one set of standards at the high school into college or the workforce where the may be several different standards. Mrs. Reid responded that the high school is aiming to first ensure that all students have an understanding of writing basics and the rules of grammar. Instructing according to those standards will allow for a natural progression toward more complex writing standards. Mrs. Reid also emphasized the importance of examining student work in this process.
Academic support for students was also addressed. Summer school was eliminated as a budget reduction measure last spring, and Mrs. Reid described the need to provide alternate means for credit recovery. Gary McLaughlin spoke to credit recovery opportunities in his classes. Mrs. Reid clarified that if the high school receives a federal Smaller Learning Communities (SLC) grant, the high school will identify students needing assistance in December and will likely implemented an extended day in January, allowing these students to reach standard by April. She also described plans to develop a culminating freshman project in preparation for the culminating project that begins with the class of 2008.
Ms. McLaughlin questioned the engagement of the general student body in the reinvention effort. Mrs. Reid responded that staff is making an effort to heighten students' awareness, beginning with the involvement of student leadership. Mrs. Kelly inquired about opportunities for parental involvement. Mrs. Reid acknowledged that parent involvement has been limited, due to a lack of interest, and stated that she is investigating other ways to get the message out to parents. Mr. McClain suggested addressing parents in the spring during Welcome Night.
Community member Patti Happe asked for data on the dropout rate between ninth and tenth grades. Mrs. Reid responded that the high school's cohort graduation rate continues to increase and improved last year by nearly four percent.
ITEMS FOR NEXT AGENDA
The next board meeting is scheduled for October 13 in the Board Room of the Central Service Building. Proposed agenda items include: WASL Honors, Enrollment Report, and Review of Board Policy No. 3207, Prohibition of Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying. Mr. McClain noted that the October 27 board meeting at Fairview Elementary School is scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m. with a special meeting.
With no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 7:15 p.m.